Tributes Pour In For Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Celebrities are taking to social media to pay tribute to Hugh Hefner, the man who created Playboy magazine at his kitchen table and helped set off a cultural revolution.

Hefner, whose empire promoted a hedonistic lifestyle, died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles on Wednesday. He was 91.

For decades, he was the pipe-smoking, silk-pajama-wearing center of a constant fantasy party at Playboy mansions in Chicago and then in Los Angeles.

But he is being remembered for much more than the women, the mansion and the lifestyle.

Here’s a look at some of the celebrities paying their respects to Hefner, who is being remembered as an icon and a legend.

Born in Chicago in 1926, Hefner was the eldest son of conservative protestant parents.

His interest in publications started in grade school where Hefner founded a student newspaper. Years later he worked as a promotion copy writer for Esquire magazine but left to start his own publication when he was denied a $5 raise.

Hefner mortgaged his furniture and raised $8,000 from family and friends.

The rest is history.

With its first issue in 1953, featuring a naked Marilyn Monroe, Hefner put Playboy on the front lines of the sexual revolution.

He called his magazine “a pleasure primer styled to the masculine taste” and it touted a smart, swinging lifestyle that Hef himself came to embody.

Despite the over the top spectacle, Hefner believed he was on a mission, challenging people to question what they believe.

He considered himself a crusader of women’s rights and racial equality, using his television series, “Playboy Penthouse” to introduce black performers to their first white audiences.

Throughout the decades, Hefner clashed with authority, politicians, religious groups and even the U.S. Post Office.

He was arrested and stood trial for selling obscene literature after an issue of Playboy featured nude photos of actress Jayne Mansfield. The jury couldn’t reach a verdict and the charge was eventually dropped.

The publicity didn’t affect the reputation of Hefner or Playboy Enterprises.

In 1965, he founded the Playboy Foundation to provide grants to nonprofit groups fighting censorship and researching human sexuality.

Hefner said one his greatest strengths was the ability to change.

In 2010, he told the New York Times “I think the major thing I managed to accomplish was playing some part in changing our social and sexual values, and I take a lot of pride in that. ”

Over the years, Playboy Enterprises expanded to include television, resorts and nightclubs.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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